Ken­nard hosts June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CENTREVILLE — A June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion mark­ing the of­fi­cial end­ing of slav­ery in the U.S. and in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the free­doms that fol­lowed was held Satur­day, June 17, was held at the Ken­nard High School African Amer­i­can Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­ter in Centreville. June­teenth cel­e­bra­tions have taken place all across the U.S. for many years, mark­ing the of­fi­cial end­ing of slavey, which took place in Galve­ston, Texas, June 19, 1865. U.S. Army Gen­eral Gor­don Granger rode into Galve­ston an­nounc­ing the eman­ci­pa­tion of en­slaved Tex­ans. This took place al­most two and a half years after the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion was is­sued by President Abra­ham Lincoln.

The first such lo­cal cel­e­bra­tion was held in Gra­sonville more than 20 years ago, or­ga­nized by Batts Neck res­i­dent Sharon Robin­son of Stevensville. It was hosted in 1992 at the Gra­sonville Com­mu­nity Cen­ter. This year marked the sec­ond lo­cal cel­e­bra­tion, held this time at the re­cently re­stored school build­ing. It was or­ga­nized by Robin­son, Deb­o­rah Brown and Kia Reed.

The ren­o­vated Ken­nard build­ing was re-opened last fall. Though the ma­jor work of restora­tion is com­plete, the mu­seum por­tion of the build­ing is still a work in progress. Clay­ton Wash­ing­ton, president of the Ken­nard High School Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, has been in­stru­men­tal in the progress of the for­mer Ken­nard High School build­ing.

Wash­ing­ton told the au­di­ence on Satur­day, “The his­tory of this build­ing is about all of us, all the peo­ple who live and have lived in Queen Anne’s County. If you have items, pic­tures, what­ever could be added to the mu­seum here to en­rich the story of all of us, we wel­come your do­na­tions.”

The af­ter­noon was ded­i­cated to African Amer­i­can ed­u­ca­tion, cul­ture, art, his­tory and achieve­ment. There were hymns sung by sev­eral groups, es­pe­cially chil­dren’s youth choirs, African Amer­i­can foods, po­etry read, talks, and an en­gag­ing re-en­act­ment of Har­riet Tub­man done by Moonyene Jack­son of Eas­ton with chil­dren from the au­di­ence.

Sev­eral new dis­plays were in the up­stairs por­tion of the Ken­nard build­ing, one a de­tailed ex­hibit of African Amer­i­can water­man of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay who have lived and still live in Queen Anne’s County. Posters of sev­eral lo­cal water­men, Cap­tains Ge­orge Roy of Stevensville, Her­man Mered­ith and Warren But­ler, both of Gra­sonville, were promi­nently dis­played.

Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sioner Jack Wilson was present at the begin­ning of the pro­gram on Satur­day and read a de­tailed procla­ma­tion about the im­por­tance of the June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion tak­ing place in Centreville.

He said, “This June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion is not only an African Amer­i­can mile­stone in our na­tion but an op­por­tu­nity to ed­u­cate and di­a­logue with all ci­ti­zens and re­flect on our shared his­tory in Queen Anne’s County.”

The procla­ma­tion was signed by all five of the county com­mis­sion­ers.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Area chil­dren lis­ten to the words of Har­ri­ett Tub­man re-en­ac­tor Moonyene Jack­son, of Eas­ton, in a special pre­sen­ta­tion, Satur­day, June 17, dur­ing the June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion at the Ken­nard Her­itage Cen­ter.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Wear­ing African-Amer­i­can styles, th­ese mod­els par­tic­i­pate in a fash­ion show dur­ing the June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion at the Ken­nard Her­itage Cen­ter in Centreville, Satur­day, June 17. From the left, Zakiya Grigsby of Bridgeville, Del., Neisha Lewis of Bal­ti­more, Ty Sul­li­van of Lau­rel, Del., de­signer Sher­illa Cox of Seaford, Del., Shamaka Thomp­son of Takoma Park, and make-up artist Diane Wash­ing­ton of Brandy­wine.

Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sioner Jack Wilson, left, presents the procla­ma­tion he read Satur­day, June 17, in recog­ni­tion of the June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion of the last slaves in the U.S. to be freed, June 19, 1865, in Galve­ston, Texas, al­most two and half years after President Abra­ham Lincoln’s Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion, to Ken­nard High School Alu­mini As­so­ci­a­tion President Clay­ton Wash­ing­ton. The procla­ma­tion read­ing be­gan the fes­tiv­i­ties of the June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion on Satur­day at Ken­nard, stress­ing the joys and val­ues of free­dom and com­mu­nity.

One of the ever grow­ing dis­plays in­side the Ken­nard Her­itage Cen­ter, this dis­play rec­og­nizes the con­tri­bu­tions of AfricanAmer­i­can water­man, many from Queen Anne’s County.

Mem­bers of the Bryans Youth Choir sang sev­eral hymns dur­ing the June­teenth Cel­e­bra­tion, Satur­day, June 17, at the Ken­nard Her­itage Cen­ter. Pic­tured, from the left, Micheala Thomas, Mar­shay Hines, MacKenzie Hines, Ash­ley Hines, Mariah Townsend and Faith Brooks.

Moonyene Jack­son of Eas­ton por­trays Har­ri­ett Tub­man dur­ing the June­teenth cel­e­bra­tion Satur­day, June 17, at the Ken­nard Her­itage Cen­ter in Centreville.

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